NEIGHBORHOODS: Writer cruises the Pacific Beach bik

by Staff

Staff writer Miranda Adler spent time this month exploring the Pacific Beach biking lifestyle on a borrowed, old-school ride. Copyright Jeff Lewis / Staff Photographer

By Miranda Adler, Staff Writer

It seems like everybody is doing it. Moms with their babies do it in the morning. Kids do it all day long. I’ve even seen homeless men do it outside 7-11. Students live by it. So what is this thing sweeping society?

Riding a bicycle in Pacific Beach isn’t just something to do; it’s a way of life.

Anyone who frequents PB has undoubtedly had to swerve around a biker or two. The countless cruisers parked in front of nearly every shop, from old and rusting to blinged-out beauties, are hard to ignore.

So what is it really like to be that carefree pedal pusher, that mobile free-spirit type who seems to overwhelm PB’s community? I wanted to find out.

Last week, perched atop a borrowed old-school trick bicycle, I set out to explore the bike buzz in PB.

Riding on Garnet Avenue, I felt exhilarated as the wind whipped through my hair, and I tried to avoid bus stop benches. As I rolled down the road, I noticed a lack of available parking spots, an obvious incentive for biking.

Another perk of cruising in PB — prime people watching. I saw a grown man walk out of a bank with no shoes on. I watched a few girls come out from one of the many discount boutiques, giggling as they threw their new Halloween costumes in their bike baskets and sped off. I also witnessed a woman, who I hope was a tourist, take a spill onto the neatly manicured lawn of a residence on a side street.

Which brings me to an oddity of the biking culture in PB: Every cruiser that passed me had a bell, but I never heard it being used. Perhaps the friendly and relaxed PB attitude is like an unwritten code for bikers and their pedestrian obstacles. On my adventure, however, I took a more proactive approach. I found it more effective to ring my bell whenever someone was in my way.

However brief, my glimpse of the biking culture in PB showed me how the recreational activity seems to mirror the laid-back lifestyle.

A pastime that brings together students, moms, kids and the homeless has to be doing something right.

—Miranda Adler is a journalism and French senior.

—This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec.